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GOLDSBORO, NC (AP) — A judge is considering whether North Carolina can keep a convicted killer on death row after nearly two decades.

A Wayne County Superior Court judge on Monday hears evidence on whether 50-year-old Marvin Williams is mentally retarded. North Carolina law forbids mentally retarded defendants from being executed. Sixteen inmates have had their death sentences suspended since the law passed in 2001.

A judge can declare a person mentally retarded if he or she scores 70 or below on an IQ test and shows poor basic life skills before the age of 18. Williams has taken multiple tests and has scored above and below 70.

WRAL-TV reports that Williams killed Theron Price during a robbery in 1989. Price was a security guard at the Goldsboro company where both men worked.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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